Worldwide traffic registers +2.5% October increase

SWITZERLAND. “The air transport industry continues its determined climb back to real industry growth. With a +2.5% passenger traffic increase, for the first time this year, passenger growth has surpassed freight growth,” said IATA director general and ceo Giovanni Bisignani.

October passenger traffic of IATA member airlines increased +2.5% and freight traffic was up by +1.5% as compared to October 2002. Europe continued to show robust passenger traffic growth (in Revenue Passenger Kilometres or RPKs), up +4% over October 2002. The Middle East has also maintained a strong pace, recording a +20.6% rise, as have carriers in South America at +14.8% and Africa at +6.36%.

A continuation of recovery was also reported from Asia Pacific, coming in at only -0.1% below last year’s October results, a significant rebound from all time lows in May due to the SARS impact. Only North America continues to be dogged by lower year-on-year performance.

Previous traffic trends continue to point to a steady recovery. The cumulative international passenger results for January through October 2003 are -4.2% below January-October 2002, but this is an improvement over January-September cumulative results of -4.9%.

There was a 0.7% improvement in overall capacity (in Available Seat Kilometres or ASKs) for October compared to 2002, contributing to a small drop in October passenger load factor to 74.6% as compared to 75.8% in September 2003.

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